GOP 2012 presidential contender Mitt Romney today spoke at the Iowa state fair, before a key Republican debate tonight and an upcoming Iowa straw poll. At the end of his speech, a Q&A session quickly devolved into a shouting match.
The first questioner asked Romney if he would raise the cap on payroll taxes, so that the rich pay more into the system. Romney — who has a net worth of more than $200 million — said that raising the payroll tax cap for Social Security was tantamount to “attacking people because of their success”:
You know, there was a time in this country when we didn’t celebrate attacking people based on their success and when we didn’t go after people because they were successful.
A second questioner asked Romney “what are you going to do to strengthen Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare without cutting benefits.” Romney’s response, after briefly shouting at the questioner, was “I’m not going to raise taxes. That’s my answer.” The rowdy crowd at the Iowa State Fair interrupted his answers to chant “Wall Street greed.” Watch it:
When it comes to raising the payroll tax to shore up Social Security, “completely eliminating the cap without increasing benefits actually creates a long-term surplus, and eliminating the cap while increasing benefits comes close.”
Romney later defended raising the retirement age for Social Security in order to preserve corporate tax breaks by saying “corporations are people, my friend.”